Mental Health

Getting out of bed: The “One hour rule” and other tips

Does getting out of bed in the morning ever seem like an overwhelming task? You’re not alone. PatientsLikeMe members are talking about it a lot in the mental health forum. Read on to learn what’s worked for others on difficult mornings. Give yourself no more than an hour Elyse Raffery, contributor to The Mighty, shared her strategy for the “One Hour Rule” to get out of bed on the days she’d rather not move from beneath the covers: “Within one hour of waking up, I have to be out of my bed. If I look at the clock when I wake up and it is 9 a.m., by 10 a.m., I cannot still be lying in bed. I am a competitive person, and even some gentle competition with my own brain helps me sometimes.” Louder alarms, brighter lights and more tips from PatientsLikeMe members Check out these practical morning tips from other members in the forum: “I got a much louder alarm. I went back to the classic two bell analog alarm clock… so loud that my cat bolts from the room.” “Now I have a routine where I get up, turn the light on, and listen to the radio for ten …

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PTSD Nightmares: Why they’re happening and what you can do

More than 1,600 members of the PTSD community on have reported experiencing severe nightmares, and there are dozens of forum threads tagged with topic. So, we took a deeper dive into PTSD nightmares and some of the research-backed approaches you can try to help manage them. How common are nightmares after trauma? The quick answer: Very common. According to one study, 71% to 96% of people with PTSD experience nightmares. And the number is even higher for those also living with another mental health condition like panic disorder. At least 50% of people with PTSD suffer from nightmares that incorporate elements or contain exact replications of a traumatic event (these are called replicative nightmares). An additional 20-25% experience post-traumatic nightmares that don’t exactly replay the trauma memory, but are symbolically related to the traumatic event. Why do PTSD nightmares happen? Scientists have been studying dreams for years, but they still don’t fully understand how or why we dream. Matthew Walker, a psychology researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, has one theory. Walker found that during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the chemistry of the brain actually changes. Levels of norepinephrine — a kind of adrenaline — drop out completely. REM sleep is the only time of day when this happens. …

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9 mental health podcasts worth listening to

Podcasts are an easy (and usually free) way to stay on top of what’s new across a wide variety of topics — they’re kind of like internet radio on demand, and usually broken up into episodes that you can download on your computer, device or phone. Below, we rounded up 9 podcasts focused on mental health that are worth checking out. While podcasts can act as complements to your mental health care plan, they’re not intended to be a substitute for therapy or medication.   Mental Illness Happy Hour   The New York Times described this podcast as a “a safe place in which he [the host] and his guests talk about their fears, addictions and traumatic childhoods.” This is a weekly podcast that features interviews with people from all walks of life and explores mental illness, trauma, addiction and negative thinking.   The Psych Central Show   This weekly podcast takes an in-depth look at topics related to psychology and mental health. Hosts Gabe Howard and Vincent M. Wales discuss everything from online counseling and the toll of texting to dealing with narcissistic coworkers and more.   The Hilarious World of Depression   This podcast aims to tackle the …

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Tips on how to find a Psychologist

So, you’re thinking about going to therapy — what are you supposed to do next? We got in touch with Registered Psychologist Sean Keating to ask his advice. Sean has been a practicing psychologist for six years, and currently works as an early psychosis clinician. He focuses on early intervention for young people between the ages of 12-25 who have experienced their first episode of psychosis, or are at an ultra high risk of developing psychosis. We asked him for his advice on how to find a therapist, what to do if you’re not connecting, and how to get the most out of therapy. Tell us, how do you know if therapy is for you? I think the biggest problem in mainstream mental health at the moment is stigma. We’ve drawn a line in the sand where if you show vulnerability or cracks in your ability to function as a human, then you’re not of sound mind, or — the cringeworthy statement I hear quite often — “you’re weak.” It’s not true. Finding an outlet for your thoughts and feelings is important. If you find it hard to resolve a problem you’re having, it can help to talk to someone …

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Psychotherapy and PTSD symptoms: Your questions answered

Recently, a number of PatientsLikeMe members shared some of the questions they had about psychotherapy and  remission from PTSD symptoms, so we asked Meaghan Zisk, R.N. M.P.H., a nurse and Health Data and Patient Safety Clinical Specialist, to investigate. She took a deep dive into variations of PTSD, psychotherapy types, how they work and resources to help you choose which therapy type is right for you. She also touched on the possibility of remission from PTSD symptoms. Check out what she found… PTSD vs C-PTSD Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) is a relatively new diagnostic term intended to describe the symptoms associated with prolonged, repeated trauma. Examples of such trauma include long-term child abuse, long-term domestic violence, concentration camps, prisoner of war camps, among others. Individuals with C-PTSD generally have all of the symptoms associated with PTSD. However, individuals with C-PTSD also experience additional symptoms such as difficulty with emotion regulation, feeling worthless or guilty, and interpersonal problems that are not seen as frequently in PTSD. Due to the combination of interpersonal and emotional symptoms with other PTSD symptoms, C-PTSD can be harder to treat and may take longer to recover from than PTSD. The International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS) has published treatment …

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From tomatoes to turmeric: Can foods fight inflammation?

Inflammation is a hot topic. What’s it all about? And what’s the scoop on certain diets, foods and supplements, such as turmeric, when it comes to fighting inflammation? What is inflammation? Not all inflammation is “bad.” Acute inflammation is part of the body’s natural way of defending itself from foreign substances like viruses, bacteria, cuts and splinters. It may cause redness, swelling, heat and/or pain. The upside is, these symptoms are a sign that the body is responding after an injury or infection by triggering white blood cells and disease-fighting chemicals. But some “other” kinds of inflammation — like chronic inflammation (which may include constant low-grade or systemic inflammation) and inflammation from autoimmune disorders (where the body attacks its own healthy cells as if they’re foreign) — doesn’t always show visible or obvious symptoms and can play a more long-term and complex role, according to Mayo Clinic. Which diseases or conditions does it affect? Mounting research shows that inflammation is a common underlying factor (and possibly a cause) in many — perhaps even all — diseases. You’ve probably heard about the role of inflammation in arthritis or heart health. But researchers and doctors have also studied inflammation’s link to a wide range of other diseases and conditions, including cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s …

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“It started tearing me down early”: Illustrator and writer Howie Noel shares about his upcoming graphic memoir on life with generalized anxiety disorder

Today is World Mental Health day, a day for education, awareness and advocacy, and that’s where Howie Noel’s story comes in. There are more than 30,000 members living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder on PatientsLikeMe, and it’s for people like these, people like him, that Noel wrote his semi-autobiographic illustrated memoir, Float. We recently sat down with him to talk about his book and how it came to be. When art imitates life Float is told from the perspective of three characters who act as symbols for Noel’s personality. The book follows the story of main character, David, and his experience living with generalized anxiety disorder. David has lost jobs and lovers, but the one constant in his life has always been Anxiety, and when his wife leaves him, he asks Anxiety to take over. Noel, a comic illustrator based in New Jersey, wrote and illustrated the book and draws material from his own experience living with generalized anxiety disorder. “In Float, anxiety begins as an inner voice that offers advice. That advice is not helpful but it’s comforting because it’s coming from my mind. Unfortunately, a lot of anxiety’s ideas are harmful and dangerous.” Noel says that throughout the book, one of the main struggles is to fight the …

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Meet Christopher – “PTSD is not just soldiers whining and complaining about struggles in life”

Say hello to Christopher (ChrisBC), a father, musician and Purple Heart recipient living with PTSD and bipolar disorder. We recently caught up with him to hear about how PTSD affected his marriage and how his diagnosis pushed him get the help he needed and connect with his feelings. Keep reading to learn how he copes with stigma and the one thing he wishes people understood about PTSD. Can you tell us a little about yourself? What are you passionate about?   I was born in Seattle WA, and my family moved to Alaska where I grew up. I joined the Army when I was 19 years old and went to my first assignment at Fort Polk, Louisiana. I spent the next 22 years in the Army. During my time in the Army, I was stationed in seven different locations including Germany. I had five different deployments of varying lengths with three combat, and two peacekeeping. I received a Purple Heart as well as many others in my platoon during my Iraq tour for being wounded under enemy fire. I retired in 2014 and have one daughter who is 11 years old. I am passionate about music and I play the electric bass guitar …

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Meet Laura from the PatientsLikeMe Team of Advisors

  Say hello to Laura (thisdiva99), another member of your 2016-2017 Team of Advisors. Laura chatted with us about what it’s like to live with bipolar disorder and why she thinks it’s essential to find and connect with others who live with the same condition: “It is of the utmost importance to connect with other Bipolar Warriors. Mental illness can be very isolating.” Laura also shared some details about her background as a professional opera singer. She’s performed all over the world and has even won a Grammy! Get to know Laura and read her advice for others who are living with chronic conditions. What gives you the greatest joy and puts a smile on your face? Hearing the laughter of my husband, my nieces, and my nephews brings me ultimate joy. What has been your greatest obstacle living with your condition, and what societal shifts do you think need to happen so that we’re more compassionate or understanding of these challenges? My greatest obstacle in living with bipolar disorder is having to pretend that I am “OK” all the time. People with mental illness often find that they must hide their symptoms, and live in a quiet kind of …

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Treating PTS: What members said in a recent study

June is National PTSD Awareness Month, so we’re shedding some light on what it’s really like to live with post-traumatic stress (PTS). At the end of last year, we teamed up with our partners at One Mind to better understand what it’s like for PTS patients to treat their condition. Nearly 700 members of PatientsLikeMe’s PTS community took a survey, and now that we’ve analyzed the results, we wanted to share what we’ve discovered. Check out this infographic to see what members said about why they did or didn’t seek treatment, who helped them find it, and whether or not it helped.     Share this post on Twitter and help spread the word.

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